Sandusky, OH

Kalahari Resorts Celebrates National Waterpark Day With Launch Of America's First VR Waterslide

Jessica N. Abraham
Image via Kalahari Resorts

July 28 marks National Waterpark Day, and Sandusky has just one more reason to celebrate. For those that don’t know, Kalahari Resorts and Convention Center has a fantastic indoor-outdoor waterpark and resort located right in the heart of the Sandusky area. Guests are invited to experience this family-friendly resort in all its glory with overnight, one-day, and extended stay offers for families of all sizes!

America’s First Virtual Reality (VR) Waterslide Experience
Image of America's first and only indoor VR waterslide via Kalahari Resorts

Kalahari Resorts is all about innovation. Another Kalahari Resorts and Conventions location has teamed up with BallastVR to help families create new memories in lieu of this national holiday. Using Ballast's patented VRSlide® technology, they're launching the country's first and only virtual reality (VR) waterslide in the Poconos and early critics have been loving it!

"There's a magical combination that comes from merging immersive virtual reality worlds with the thrill of riding down a real waterslide. At Ballast, we've been committed to bringing that magic to waterparks for the last four years with VRSlide® and we couldn't be more pleased to debut this system in America with Kalahari Resorts," said Stephen Greenwood, CEO and Co-Founder of Ballast VR.

Riders race down unique drops and twisting curves wearing a VR headset on the Anaconda waterslide. Keep in mind, they are fully immersed in one of three experiences:

  • An action-packed African safari
  • An alien chase through outer space
  • Flying through castles, surrounded by fire-breathing dragons
"To date,” he continues, “we've had over half a million riders of VRSlide at prior installations overseas – it's a system that has proven to be safe for riders and profitable for our clients and partners. The Anaconda at Kalahari is the perfect match for VRSlide and the result is an incredible guest experience that can be repeated over and over, without getting old. We're deeply appreciative of Kalahari's vision for innovation and their leadership in the immersive entertainment space."

Sensors are placed throughout the ride to ensure spot-on video synchronization during the entire journey, and all headsets are waterproof.

While the VRSlide® experience has not yet hit all resorts, there are other ways guests can experience VR at all four Kalahari Resort locations. Each park has an underwater gaming experience, where swimmers strap in for safety and "explore the majestic ocean and all the beautiful creatures it homes."

While some users will want to experience the deep blue, others, however, will want to blast off into space and navigate throughout the galaxies. Just like the new VRSlide® experience, Kalahari Resorts happens to be the first resort in the country to showcase underwater virtual reality technologies as an added bonus to all that play there.

Like the VRSlide® experience, VR swimming started as a pilot program to see if guests would even be interested in what innovation had to offer. So, while there’s currently no implementation insight, this isn’t to say the VRSlide® won’t hit Sandusky within the next year or so.

"We wanted to do something extraordinary to celebrate the 5th annual National Waterpark Day and what better way than to introduce America's first virtual reality slide?" said Cary Brandt, Corporate Creative Director Entertainment at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions. "Our guests will be truly blown away by the experience offered by Ballast's VRSlide® technology, and we're proud to continue to innovate the waterpark experience to bring our guests the best in entertainment."

In the meantime, Ohioans should definitely check out the resort. With packages that seem to be at a discounted rate of 20% or more, families will have so much to do with visiting the parks or while welcoming a staycation or two.

It’s perfect for entertaining friends and family.

There’s a virtual reality game room, a 7-D gaming experience, and so much more. This resort is perfect for gatherings with friends and family -- especially for visitors joining from out of town.

The Virtual Reality room is meant for guests ten years of age and older. Equipped with a headset and often a gun, players will be prompted to "hunt zombies, fly through cities, battle alien robots or play sports in another dimension." Action-packed gaming and viewing experiences mean that both seating and standing room are available for those ready to experience full-motion and Hologate virtual reality.

The 7-D theatre combines 3D viewing and augmented reality with the awesomeness of full-motion seating, gaming and the elements of wind and sound to send audiences on extraordinary adventures. Guests are welcome to kill zombies, be tortured by clowns, run from the werewolf and fight an army of robot cowboys! 7-D experiences are all the rave at other popular attractions around the globe. Universal Studios, for example, has the Spiderman ride that employs water and fire to bring a comic icon to life.
Image of Safari Animal Adventures Park via Kalahari Resorts

There are other things for guests to do with their families. The great escape miniature golf is an excellent way for families -- or couples -- to bond with 18 holes of golf in the Safari Outdoor Adventure Park. The park itself is part of the Kalahari Resorts experience with:

  • Adventure Climbing Walls -- Where guests can climb one of two 32-foot climbing walls, equipped with race timers and an auto-belay safety system
  • A Ropes Course -- A three-level course where guests can test their balance upon 48 different elements and 750 feet of exhilarating roping adventures
  • Safari Adventures Animal Park -- Where guests can experience up-close and personal encounters with animals from the African Savanna (even feeding them!)
  • Zip Line Tours -- Currently closed (but a must check out in the future!)

A second 9-hole mini-golf course takes you “through a tropical jungle of fun, as you putt through lions, elephants, giraffes and more. Using a bit of black lighting and a palette of fluorescents, guests love this glow course -- because even if it rains, the fun won’t stop! Usually, their next stop is laser tag or mini-bowling with 5 lb. balls.
Image via Kalahari Resorts

For guests with Autism, Dementia and other illnesses that struggle with sensory processing, Kalahari has a Calming Room within a sensory environment built to put one at ease -- especially after a long day of excitement.

Family Gaming Experiences

Kalahari resorts have a few different escape rooms to choose from. The resort just added new rooms to its menu. "Escape the Desert of Time '' has a two-art mission, where guests have landed their spaceship in the desert of planet Obscura. They're given 25 minutes to escape from a desert cave while recovering alien artifacts along the way.

The second part of this mission is the actual "Escape from Planet Obscura." Guests have an additional 25 minutes to configure the engine of their broken ship, seal an oxygen leak, decipher alien messages and activate the launch sequence.

The "Big Game Room" has hundreds of games, rides, experiences (XR) and prizes!

Here’s to a little relaxation for the Adults.
Image via Kalahari Resorts

The resort provides spa and massage treatments on-site, along with skincare, nail care and beauty services. They've recently added hydrafacial treatments to their roster, removing nasty residues from within the skin and revitalizing its natural glow.

...and, you won't want to miss the float experience:

"A release, healing for your body and relaxation beyond anything you have known before. Everything about our float is perfect. From the size of the tank, temperature of the solution, even the air you breathe is adjusted to make this experience so thoughtless on your part that all you can do is float into another dimension. With everything falling so perfectly into place your mind is given permission to think of nothing and to move your subconscious to whatever plane you need heal, move forward, or just rest. We want to offer this wonderful gift to anyone who enters our space."
Image via Kalahari Resorts

A sure-fire highlight of the Kalahari resorts is the Halotherapy Room, where the halogenerator uses halotherapy (salt therapy) to vaporize pure Himalayan sea salt into the air. When inhaled, this air provides many health benefits to the guests and the environment. The salt is ionized to destress and detoxify the body, boost the immune system, treat respiratory illness and combat depression. It also removes a high amount of bacteria in our systems, as well as pollutants and toxins that can kill us over time.

Don't skip the training just because you're on vacation! Kalahari's fitness and training quarters allow guests to continue pumping iron, even while away from their favorite gym. With top-notch equipment, a room full of free weights and an environment made to inspire, guests can receive training -- free of charge!

DISCLAIMER: You don’t have to stay at the resort.

The best thing about Kalahari’s resort locations is that they’re open to the public. You don’t have to spend the night to enjoy a warm day at the 174,000 sq. ft. water park, lush with rides, slides and plenty of water!

Ballast’s groundbreaking VR water attractions have been enjoyed by over 700,000 happy customers and 40 different locations, 15 countries across the world. By creating incredible and eye-catching guest experiences, Ballast Technologies -- a San Francisco-based startup -- has grown quickly to become the unquestioned world leader in this new form of entertainment technology.

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Jessica N. Abraham is a writer, designer and publicist, specializing in Business, Technology and the Jobs Industry. | | Twitter: @jessicanabraham

Ohio State

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